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The 11 Best White Wines to Drink in 2021

Two glasses of wine.
Valeria Boltneva/Pexels

There’s never a bad time for a glass of good white wine, particularly if it’s one of the best bottles available.

Due to miseducation, the masses thought for a while that wines like Spain’s Ancient White Wine, Verdejo, and Chardonnay were the drinks of summer’s scorching afternoons in the park — there to refresh and do little more. But a good number of white wines highlight just as much complexity if not more than most red wines. And I say that knowing full well the kind of prestige and following enjoyed by iconic reds like Barbaresco, Bordeaux, and the Italian Wine Chianti.

What that all means is that you should be enjoying white wine all year-round, whether it’s a bracing Albariño White Wine, a silky Pinot Blanc, or an herbaceous and full-bodied Kerner. The best and most popular wines of the world include stunning sparkling, riveting reds, dazzling pinks, and a wide world of whites.

While we’re talking white wine, let’s put a few things to bed for good. Yes, it’s actually great in the winter, especially when you play off seasonal eats like various kinds of seafood, roasted root vegetables, and more. No, it doesn’t have to be chilled to death. In fact, over-cooling a white often strips it of its character (I tend to rarely chill anything outside of bubbles). And when you do things in the cellar like slow fermentation and aging on the lees and in the barrel, the resulting white wine can have a mesmerizing amount of depth and intrigue.

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Cantine Colosi Grillo

A bottle of Colosi Grillo Sicilia Wine in a white backdrop.

This indigenous Sicilian white made from the Grillo grape exudes strength and energy. It has that kissed-by-the-ocean element that so many southern Italian wines have, at a fraction of the price. Try it and see why somms and winos are so drawn to wines from this corner of the world.

Chateau Montelena Chardonnay

A bottle of Chateau Montelena Chardonnay in a white backdrop.

Finding a refined and truly dialed-in California Chardonnay isn’t quite as easy as it used to be these days but some of the old guards are still up to some tasty old tricks. This wine bursts with brioche, zest, and fresh flowers while staying buttoned up with class and cellar potential.

Palacio de Fefinanes Albariño

A bottle of Palacio de Fefinanes 2018 Albariño in a white backdrop.

This fantastic take on Albariño sizzles with neon-bright fruit flavors, rippling acidity, and cleanliness on the palate that’s mostly unmated within the varietal. You’ll love its pizazz, which runs at full throttle from when the cork pops to the very last sip.

Kelley Fox Freedom Hill Vineyard Pinot Blanc

A bottle of Kelley Fox Freedom Hill Pinot Blanc in a white backdrop.

By now, most in the Northwest have heard the name Kelley Fox but her wines are worthy of national, if not international attention. Case in point: Her exceptional Pinot Blanc, which is as elegant, layered, and lasting as any of the best white Burgundies out there. It’s made with care and sources from Freedom Hill Vineyard, one of the better Willamette Valley sites.

J. de Villebois Pouilly-Fumé Marnes Kimméridgiennes

A bottle of J. de Villebois Pouilly-Fumé Marnes Kimméridgiennes in a white backdrop.

Made in a corner of France that made Sauvignon Blanc famous, this wine remains a standard-bearer. There’s great Sauv Blanc in the states and New Zealand and beyond but it’s hard not to just want to return to the limestone soils of the eastern Loire Valley, where the grape really, really sings.

Brooks Ara Riesling

A bottle of Brooks Ara Riesling in a white backdrop.

Practically a temple for New World Riesling, Oregon’s Brooks Winery makes several dozens every year. The Ara tends to top the esteemed list year in and year out, a small-batch effort that shows beautiful tropical fruit and melon rind note. Fans of dry Riesling of Alsace quality should settle into this great label.

Gary Farrel Olivet Lane Chardonnay

A bottle of Gary Farrell Olivet Lane Vineyard Chardonnay in a white backdrop.

Another splendid option within the Chard category, and very much one of the new movements. Which is to say, the opposite of over-oaked and flabby. It has tension, crispness, and beautiful flavors abound.

Tramin Pinot Grigio

A bottle of Tramin Pinot Grigio in a white backdrop.

We drink a lot of Pinot Grigio but we should be drinking better Pinot Grigio. A safe bet is to go to the north of Italy in Alto Adige. This delightful white shows classic pear and citrus elements with a medium body and great overall balance.

Yeringberg Marsanne Roussanne

A bottle of Yeringberg Marsanne Roussanne in a white backdrop.

A riveting white Rhone blend from the Yarra Valley of Australia, this wine emphasizes what can be done with a mindful blend. It is ever so round, with the ideal mix of richness and brightness.

Gramercy Cellars Viognier

A bottle of Gramercy Cellars Viognier in a white backdrop.

This Columbia Valley gem shows all the great traits of Viognier, the southern French grape known for its peach-y goodness and hefty build. You’ll want to dive deep into this wine, preferably in a large glass so you can take it all in (and pair it with fried chicken, trust me).

Habit Chenin Blanc

A bottle of Habit Chenin Blanc Jurassic Park Vineyard in a white backdrop.
Vivino

This is a memorable Chenin Blanc from the Santa Ynez Valley. It’s packed full of tropical fruit, tingling acidity, and hints of dried flowers and baking spices. It gives and gives, so give it a swirl or three or even decant it for a spell to really witness the personality at play.

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